I talked to Daryl Macon this weekend...

Nothing really new.

Told me he’s still thinking.

As we are asked not to do interviews with the players off campus while they are still in school, I honored that request.

But thought y’all would like to know what he did or didn’t say.

Not sure what the business driver for Macon is, I have not heard or read of anything in his personal or family situation that warrants leaving, He may not want to play college ball anymore. 2nd round of NCAAT may be what he had in mind when he said he wanted to put Hogs back on the map. Gut says Macon is done. Once you start thinking about the money you could be making in Europe soon, it is hard to turn that off.

Our interest in Darrington is telling. He could be the perfect plug in for Macon.

It is hard to be a college basketball coach in the current times. Every year could be a rebuildin year.

China reportedly pays 7 figures, but, from what I can tell, only about 30 Americans, mostly former NBA players, are in the league. I assume foreign slots are very competitive.

The contracts in Europe’s top leagues are reportedly about $100,000 a year. That’s big money for a college student, but being the 30th pick in the NBA draft guarantees 10x the money for three years. Hence, working your way into the first round is equivalent to a 30-year European career by the age of 25. Thornwell may very well have had that gain in earnings by returning to USCe. Plus, he should reap a lot of rewards in the state of South Carolina after his playing days are over as a state hero.

Macon’s numbers and talent level are in the same neighborhood as Thornwell’s and Heild’s as juniors. No guarantees, but I wouldn’t count him out of the NBA draft next year if he returned and put up similar numbers as this season with improved ballhandling and defense. After his outstanding performances in the postseason, he should be on the radar of the national media and scouts from game 1. In terms of basketball opportunity there seems to be little risk to returning. He can for the most part only move up. The only caveat would be injury.

The only good argument for leaving, other than risking injury, is that in a year he may be in exactly the same situation as now, just a year older without anything in the bank account. I’m not sure his earning years would necessarily be shortened since a year of pro basketball puts more wear and tear on the body than a practice-limited year of college basketball, but who knows? Also, if he wants to coach later, he’ll have to give a chunk of that one year of salary back in tuition if doesn’t finish his degree. There are also plenty of courses like finance that would benefit him greatly if he were motivated to take advantage of the educational opportunities.

My advice to anyone outside the first round that has a prayer of working their way into the draft would be to return unless extreme financial need is involved. Anybody locked into the first round, I would tell to go. At that point injury would entail too big a risk for my tastes. It’s highly unlikely that any injury these days would be career threatening, but falling out of the first round could be a huge financial hit.

To be honest, I think Macon will be back and he knows that, he just wants people to make a big deal about it. He seen last year how much attention and love Kingsley got, and I think he just wants a little bit of that. And I’m not trying to bash him or his character, different people have different personalities and nothing is wrong with that. And some just like a little bit of attention.

I follow the press conferences, and although I’m not a big twitter guy, when I hear news about a player I check their twitter to see what’s going. If you follow any of that you know Macon likes to make quoteables and really likes the attention he gets in press conferences (after wins). First thing he said after winning against Seton Hall in the tournament was he could have gone anywhere in the country, but this is the reason he came to Arkansas to put them back us back in the tournament. To me that was kinda an odd statement to say, considering he only had 7 points and everybody on the team could play at a lot of different places but you never hear anyone actually say that. And then the whole “no comment” thing was kinda odd, and he’s smart enough to know (especially since Qualls done it 2 years ago) that it would draw attention. Then after it draws attention he goes on twitter to say, people don’t know what they are talking about they just like headlines, when he’s the person that gave them the headlines.

My best guess is he will put his name in draft and go w/o an agent, then when he doesn’t get invited to the combine, he’ll pull out, and then make a big announcement on twitter that he’s returning to Arkansas.

Who knows what happens, but I agree with a lot of this.

For good of program, got to assume Macon decides to play ball somewhere other than the league and we have to find a better replacement.

Hope we are into someone better because that is college ball these days.

Mr. Macon I hope for you and team you don’t go because all that glitters is not gold, but we have to think of program.

And program is always more important perspective.

Niels also hit on some good points. IMO, it would be a huge mistake for him to leave after this year, if his goal is to go to the NBA. He has a 0% chance to get drafted, and I don’t even think it’s likely he’d get picked up by a summer league team. Ky Madden was more polished and well known after his senior than Macon is now, and also was a bigger guard and he barely made Memphis summer league team, and didn’t even make the rotation to play.

He has everything to gain by returning another year. Him and Barford without a doubt will be the face and focal point of the team. This year it was more about Kingsley and Hannahs. If he continues to improve and get his name out there more, I think he gives himself a better shot to get drafted, although I think as a 6’3 185 pound SG it’s going to be tough, especially since he’s not really an elite athlete. But, him returning at the very least he even improves his stock for a potential overseas team and puts him in a better negotiating position over there for more money, plus he gets to get his degree. Like Niels said, the only reason for him to leave early would be a dire need to make money now.

Yeah, he has an uphill battle to get drafted even as a senior just because he’s a 6-3 SG and he’ll be 24 within a month of what would be his first NBA season. But he can definitely raise his profile and put himself in a position to give himself a chance, whether it be the summer league, D-League or a better opportunity overseas.

Some boards have Donovan Mitchell going in the late first round. He’s listed at 6-3 and 200 lbs. He’s a better defender than Macon, but Macon has more impressive offensive numbers. He’s younger, of course.

Some sites have Mitchell listed as 215, he sure looks bulky wouldn’t surprise me if he was a little bigger than 200 pounds. Also, he’s not a bad scorer either he averaged nearly 16 PPG on a really good Louisville team. Plus, the difference between Mitchell and Macon, is Mitchell has been on scouts radars since he went to Lousiville, because he was a top 50 recruit coming out of high school. And speaking of 6’3 200+ guys, I think Barford has a better chance to be on an NBA roster next year, because of his strength and ability to attack the rim. NBA loves PGs like that.

Also, Jimmy I think you got the age wrong on Macon. He just turned 21 in November. If he was drafted next year, he’d be be getting ready to turn 23 to start the season, not 24. But, I do get your point that he will be an older guard.

My gut from being around him this weekend for a couple of days is that he will be back.

Macon - 53% deuces, 39% treys, 56% eFG%, and 87% FTs
Mitchell - 46%, 35%, 50%, 81%

Macon - 67% at rim and 27% 2-pt jumpers
Mitchell 56%, 35%

Macon - 6.4 min per FG, 14 min per trey, 6.7 min per FT, 1.9 min per pt
Mitchell - 6.0, 13.7, 12.6, 2.1

Macon - 11.3 min per assist, 14.0 min per TO, 47.8 min per OReb
Mitchell - 11.7, 19.5, 29.5

Mitchell had to shoot and miss more often in order to score less. Macon had a huge advantage in FT rate, which makes him a more robust scorer. Macon was even slightly better in assists. On offense Macon was clearly better on a team that in theory had less talent. After the NCAAT it’s also evident that Macon saw stiffer D in the SEC than Mitchell did in the ACC, especially since Mitchell didn’t play against Louisville. This really points out what an outstanding year Macon had. He should have been All-SEC. No way I would have traded Macon for Casey Hill, for example.

Macon was no worse than adequate in every offensive category and excellent in most. For a SG his assist rate was pretty good, but he probably needs to up that to get to the NBA. He also needs to cut down on the TOs. A big improvement in ballhandling like Durham had after his junior year might get him some looks by the NBA. The other area where Macon needs improvement is finishing around the basket in traffic. Getting stronger would help there.

Niels, you keep saying Macon scored more, you do know Mitchell averaged 15.6 PPG and Macon averaged 13.4 right? Are you talking about per 40 minutes? Also, you have to take in to account the competition level difference. I think SEC is on the rise and doesn’t get enough respect I’ve been vocal in that, but the ACC from top to bottom was still better the SEC. Also, you have to factor in Lousiville was a ranked team and Mitchell was a known player and known future NBA player so he got everybody’s best shot every game. As Kingsley found out this year, when people know about you and focus a game plan around that, it’s much harder to produce when your kinda flying under the radar.

And I’m not trying to take anything away from Macon, he had a good year, but I just think there’s a few different reasons why Mitchell is considered a first round pick over him. Bigger, better defender, better slasher, and I think he has more potential to turn into a PG at the next level. That’s not saying Macon can’t turn himself into a draft prospect, but as of right now Mitchell is the much better draft prospect.

You have to normalize for minutes played. Macon scored a point every 1.9 minutes played. Mitchell scored a point every 2.1 minutes played. Scoring rate (points per minute) would be the inverse. Hence, for points the higher scoring rate is the smaller minute per point. Hence, Macon scored at a higher rate and had solidly higher shooting percentages almost everywhere.

I disagree that the ACC was better defensively than the SEC. After the postseason some ACC coaches admitted anonymously that the ACC was a soft, finesse conference that was overrated this season. They were stunned by how physical and aggressive the SEC teams were on D. The ACC had more skill players on O, but the computers significantly overrated them. Does anybody believe Virginia was a top-50 offense? They couldn’t score 40 on UF.

Mitchell’s numbers don’t look NBA ready on O quite frankly. I don’t know why he is projected in the first round. I’ll be disappointed if Atlanta drafts him. I assume he’s projected based on D and possible improvement, but he’s only played one less year of college basketball than Macon and one extra at the major college level. A SG who is a career 33% shooter from the arc in the first round of today’s NBA? 46% on deuces last season? He’s not an ace ballhandler either. I don’t get it. He did shoot the three better in conference this season at 40%. (Macon did too at 42%.) If I were an NBA GM, I’d have to see him do that over an entire season before drafting him in the first round without any superlatives anywhere else on the stat sheet…

Even without your analysis, a simple eye test says that Mitchell is not a first rounder.

All I know is the people that are paid to evaluate think he’s NBA ready. I not going to pretend I know more than them, there’s been several guys I’ve seen that didn’t look that good but ended up being studs in the NBA. And numbers and all that are fine and you can debate them all day long, but at the end of the day all that matters is what the GMS, owners, and scouts think. And right now they think Mitchell is a better prospect, whether the number prove that to be true or not.

Having watched the Atlanta Hawks draft over the last 40 years, I’m not going to be cowered into not questioning the wisdom coming out of NBA front offices on first-round draft picks. It’s not an exact science. Some genius drafted Jimmer Fredette ahead of Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard, and Jimmy Butler. Fredette and Thompson had very similar numbers in college except that Thompson rebounded in college and is 5 inches taller. Hello, McFly?

Butler is an interesting example. He was a former JUCO that stayed until his eligibility ran out at Marquette. He squeezed into the first round as the 30th pick. He didn’t shoot a lot of three’s in college, though he made a decent 35% as senior. At 6-7 and solidly built he handled well, lived at the line where he shot a high percentage, shot a good percentage inside the arc, and rebounded like a demon at both ends. The combination of handle, size, and shooting potential probably should have piqued the attention of the scouts more than it did, though nobody can predict the development on his jumper. If he had left as a junior, he probably would have been headed overseas. Would he have developed as much in Europe? Who knows? Of course, he had that prototypical NBA body on day 1.

I was speaking for myself, I wasn’t saying anything about you making predictions or questioning what front offices do, if you watch enough basketball and have a good feel on scouts are looking for then by all means have at it. Me personally I don’t really go into numbers or just key in and watch everything single thing a certain player does, so I’m not going to say a kid isn’t a first round pick, because I don’t know everything that he does. I go by the mock drafts and what they are saying, because they actually talk to the scouts and know have a good idea of where players will go. If we’re just going by our own personal opinions here, I thought Skal Labissiere was horrible in college and I wouldn’t draft him with a 1st or 2nd round pick, and I would have taken Moses Kingsley over him all day every day. Yet someone drafted him in the first round last year and Kingsley didn’t even get a combine invite. And that’s the same thing I’m saying about Macon, he may or may not produce more than other guys listed in the draft, yet it doesn’t matter if the GMs or scouts don’t feel that way. He needs to come back to give himself a chance to get on their radar.

Yeah, I can’t add haha

I have no idea what Macon will do. I don’t blame him if he leaves because there is no big advantage in staying. If he leaves, no one that I know of believe he will be drafted or make an NBA team. However, he may be able to play in Europe. Then if he makes a team, his salary would probable be in low range of perhaps $50 to $60 thousand per year. However, if he doesn’t and it is certainly far from being a sure thing, he giving up getting a degree and that is worth about that much.

I am not knowledgeable enough to give advise but, it would benefit the Razorbacks for him to return; whatever that may be worth, if anything.